When it comes to underground attractions, New York City’s subway system gets most of the attention. But there’s much more lying beneath the Big Apple’s concrete streets. Here are six subterranean spots to explore.
The city’s first subway stop opened in 1904, and though it closed just 41 years later, Old City Hall Station’s tiled interior remains an architectural marvel. Tours are only available for New York Transit Museum members (you can visit nytransitmuseum.org to become a member), but everyday riders can try to catch a glimpse of the abandoned platform by staying on the 6 train after its final stop at Brooklyn Bridge.
Hidden beneath sister bar The Happiest Hour in the West Village, Slowly Shirley is a throwback to the cocktail lounges of the 1940s, complete with art deco decor and jazzy soundtrack. Cocktails come courtesy of beverage director and partner Jim Kearns and also nod to the bygone era—classics like daiquiris, sours and martinis all share menu space with sophisticated new sips, like the rum- and pisco-infused Tahitian Coffee.
By day, the Flatiron District’s Patisserie Chanson slings buttery French pastries like eclairs and kouign amann (a sugary croissant). At night, a subterranean 16-seat Dessert Bar opens below. While drinks are part of the evening, the focus is on Michelin-starred pastry chef Rory Macdonald’s exquisite all-sweets six-course tasting menu.
Situated in the basement of a Midtown high-rise office building, Sakagura is a cozy oasis specializing in Japanese fare. The chic izakaya (a Japanese gastropub) boasts one of the most impressive sake lists in New York City, along with shareable small plates and excellent lunch specials.
Located in the Financial District, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is perhaps most recognizable from the film Die Hard with a Vengeance (the Hollywood set was based on this bank). A guided tour of the museum and underground gold vault gives the public a unique perspective on the history of the United States’ banking system.
Duck into an old, decommissioned station near Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to find the New York Transit Museum, a historical hub with artifacts from the subway’s 113-year history. Hop onboard vintage train cars and buses, peruse old maps and see how transportation in Gotham has changed in the last century.